Attack on Titan in steroids. As if the setting and plot isn’t blatantly obvious enough. Helmed by the same studio and staff, Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress is the spiritual successor of Attack of Titan in a better way – so far as the first episode goes. Kabaneri quickly gives us a ride in this first episode, heck, even in the first few minutes, of what we can expect from this series; throwing away your sanity, bending what is normal to live. A dog eats dog world. Humans driven by fear into a corner is reminiscent of a prey, an animal, stalked by its hunter. Although unlike in AoT, the prey actually bites back from the first sign of danger. We’re given a cast who’s more badass than AoT‘s (Mikasa is still badass, of course) and I believe the MC, Ikoma (Tasuku Hatanaka), has already made a strong first impression to me and to the viewers. Much can be said with Mumei (Sayaka Senbongi) who somewhat reminds me of Momohime from the Wii/Vita game Muramasa: Rebirth I sooo enjoyed. We’ve yet to learn more about who she is and what’s the deal with her but nevertheless, that heel kick which planted her feet in the post is nonchanlantly funny and epic enough to end the episode in a high note.
Let’s talk about the hunters, the reapers, in this world: the Kabane. As what we’ve seen thus far, they are previously humans who may have been infected by a curse (or maybe just a disease/illness as what Ikoma theorized) causing them to go rabid, and their hearts covered by some sort of an armor. It seems like the only way to kill a Kabane is to blow a highly-pressurized air gun to their armor-clad hearts, separating the organ from the rest of the body. As to why some samurais or the so called “Bushi” are still sporting a katana instead of an air gun, I’d yet to find the answer. I forgot to mention that the world is also set in perhaps the Tokugawa era, wherein the code of the samurai is highly venerated in our timeline. In Kabaneri, however, one of the code, or more specifically Seppuku, has been made as an excuse by the Bushis to yell comforting words such as “kill yourself or get us killed” to their infected comrades. I can’t really blame them. It’s a dog eats dog world as what I have said, and sanity is bound to be blurred by fear; by your instincts to survive.
Fair warning: If you’re looking for a feel-good sort of anime and you haven’t heard yet of Attack on Titan and you’re thinking of checking this up, it’s not yet too late to try other new titles this season. Not that I’m discouring you to watch Kabaneri but in fact, I’d like you to try it out. Minus the gore, the visuals are perfectly stunning – highly budgeted. Good animation is as expected on every show’s pilot episode, but this one is on top of my list.
First episode started stronger than I anticipated. I actually got hyped after watching it the first time (watched it THREE times). Moving forward, the second episode may take its time to slow down the pace and establish the world to give us some answers left by the former episode. More Mumei screentime isn’t that bad of an idea 😉